Since 2019, the Austrian Post has been combining the traditional with novel blockchain technology. With the fourth generation of their limited crypto stamp, they are creating a digital twin as an NFT, and adding a chip to the physical stamp.
The “Crypto Stamp 3.0” was created as a non-fungible token (NFT) on the blockchain and comes up with additional features. An integrated NFC chip verifies authenticity and opens a URL on the smartphone that displays the state of the scanned stamp. The current Crypto Stamp was issued in the form of a plastic card in credit card format.
In addition to access to the virtual collection, owners also receive a real, wet-glue stamp with a face value of 9.90 euros for franking. Collectors may not use these to send physical mail in order to increase the value of the collection.
The whale comes to life
The motif of the Crypto Stamp 3.0 is a whale – in reference to the “fat fish” typical of the scene, which own large amounts of cryptocurrencies and can thus influence markets. When not activated, the codes of the respective stamp lead to the associated website and a sleeping whale can be seen. Owners can confirm ownership by scanning their code behind the taped security label, thus activating the digital twin. The motif, respectively the non-fungible token (NFT), gets a new state.
By creating a collection, collectors of blockchain stamps will receive trophies. Special awards are given to collections that meet specific criteria. For example, if a collection contains all colors of a motif or stamps of all six motifs of Crypto Stamp 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 – but also for the first stamp in the collection. Technically, just like the NFT stamp itself, the collection is presented as an Ethereum token, but it also has a wallet address.
Analog meets digital
The world’s first blockchain stamp had been issued by Österreichische Post AG on June 11, 2019. The Crypto Stamp 1.0 with an edition of 150,000 pieces was sold out within a very short time and caused a worldwide sensation. The 4 motifs of the Crypto Stamp 2.0 with a total circulation of 240,000 pieces followed shortly thereafter.
A special edition was issued under the motto “The Golden Unicorn” and limited to 999 pieces. This one made history with a world record – the stamp adorned a 1-gram gold bar and had a face value of 500 euros. Owners were also entered into a draw for a unique 20-gram gold bar.
The Austrian Post ecosystem
The limited edition special stamps were sold off- and online, and the origin or purchase method of the Crypto Stamps 3.0 is passed down in the metadata of the NFT. The disclaimer of the sale is also visible in the block explorer. Via the OnChainStore, users from other countries could get hold of the sought-after individual pieces.
In the gallery all tokens are visible, the wallet and the associated collection are managed via Metamask. A look at randomly selected transactions revealed that buyers usually ordered several tokens for themselves. Thus, the third edition of the blockchain stamps was also sold out within one day.